Letter from the USAC Chair

September, 2011

Dear Colleagues,

A recent message from NSF has been misinterpreted to mean that the U.S. is planning to pull out of IODP and international cooperation. This is simply not true, and I ask your help in dispelling this myth within the community.

NSF’s announcement does not reflect a decrease in commitment to the program, but instead represents a supportive move toward securing a post-2013 program. In a difficult funding environment, the program must become more efficient if it is to continue. The changes announced by NSF will enhance our ability to achieve the goals of the 2013-2023 IODP Science Plan and thereby improve the chances of receiving program approval from the National Science Board.

We look forward to continued collaboration with our international partners in science planning, expeditions, and post-cruise research.  Messages from the funding agencies in Japan and Europe reinforce their intention to continue international collaborations as well.  While certain details of the new program structure remain to be worked out, the IODP science planning process is not stopping.

The 2013-2023 Science Plan identifies the highest priority scientific questions that require ocean drilling and remains the guiding document for the new program.  A strong set of drilling proposals is still important in demonstrating the need for a post-2013 program and for assuring there will not be a break between programs.  The next proposal deadline is October 1st, and the IODP-MI science managers can help you in this process.

Best Regards,

Liz Screaton
Chair, U.S. Advisory Committee for Scientific Ocean Drilling